O'Hare International Airport. Airport in Chicago, Illinois

O'Hare International Airport

Airport in Chicago, Illinois

Chicago O'Hare International Airport Terminal 1 Photo © Tagosaku

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O'Hare International Airport

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Terminal 1 - O'Hare
	International Airport
Terminal 1 - O'Hare International Airport.
While hardly a must-see tourist destination, Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport will be the port of call for most long-distance travelers heading to and from Illinois’ largest city. If you are heading in or out of Chicago via O’Hare, you can expect to at least spend a couple hours in the airport. In fact, as O’Hare is a hub airport for a number of major carriers, you might end up spending some time in the airport even if Chicago isn't your final destination.

Depending on how you measure it, O’Hare is either the busiest airport in the world or one of the busiest. In terms of flights, taking the raw number takeoffs and landings into account, O’Hare is in 1st place though Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport had previously held the title from 2005 until 2014. Before the end of the 20th century, O’Hare was also transporting more passengers than any other airport in the world but these numbers were reduced in order to ensure that more flights ran to schedule.

Even though O’Hare is often considered one of the worst airports in the United States in terms of delays (only New York City’s airports are considered worse), it is also very often chosen as either one of the best airports or the best airport in the country.

O’Hare is one of only a few select airports in the world that offers flights to a total of over 200 different destinations around the world. Around three quarters of these destinations are within the United States and the remaining quarter are international destinations, which is impressive given the airport’s central location in the country.

United Airlines underground
	walkway - O'Hare International Airport
United Airlines underground walkway - O'Hare International Airport. Photo by Intiaz Rahim

Food, Dining, and Shopping

As one of the world’s biggest airports, there are number of facilities to keep visitors entertained while they wait (and they probably will have to!) at O’Hare. There are a number of shops that offer a range of different products and services.

Whether you need a quick snack before you board your plane or have enough time to sit down and have a meal, there are a variety of cuisines represented at O’Hare and even the pickiest of eaters should be able to find something they like.


Terminal 1 (Concourse B and C)

Terminal 1 - O'Hare
	International Airport
Terminal 1 - O'Hare International Airport. Photo by N i c o l a
If you’re flying with United Airlines, Lufthansa, or All Nippon Airways, it is likely that your flight will be landing at or departing from O’Hare’s Terminal 1. If you find yourself in Terminal 1 with some time to spare, why not have a look at Michael Hayden’s “Sky’s The Limit” art installation which features neon lighting and the music “Rhapsody in Blue”?

United Club Lounges

In terms of lounges, those flying with either United, Continental, or Lufthansa as part of the "United Club" will have the privilege to make use of their lounges. If you are lucky enough to be in this position, you can make use of their lounges in O'Hare at gates B6, B18, and C16.

The facilities at the United Club locations in O'Hare feature free beverages and light snacks as well as a bar service. Internet access is also provided to club members. Local phone calls can be made for free from the lounges and, if you're a business traveller, conference rooms as well as the use of photocopiers and fax machines are also available.

Terminal 2 (Concourse E and F)

This terminal operates a number of Air Canada, Delta (though certain Delta flights operate from Terminal 5), and United Express flights. US Airways check-in, which had remained at Terminal 2 despite the flights being from Terminal 3, finally moved to the same terminal as the flights in 2014.

Sky Club Lounge

Delta's Sky Club members can enjoy the airline's lounge in Terminal 2's gate E4. Here they can be given assistance in regards to their flights, enjoy a selection of beverages, as well as check their emails or just peruse the internet by making use of the complimentary Wi-Fi connection available.

Terminal 3 (Concourse G, H, K and L)

Terminal 3 - O'Hare
	International Airport
Terminal 3 - O'Hare International Airport. Photo by Rich Renomeron
O’Hare’s Terminal 3 is home to all the flights operated by American Airlines and US Airways. Air Berlin, Iberia, American Eagles, Japan Airlines, and many budget and low-cost airlines also operate flights to and from Terminal 3.

Admiral's Club Lounges

Members of American Airlines, JAL, and Iberia's "Admiral Club" can make use of the lounges at Terminal 3's gates G8 and K6/H6 and American Airline's "Executive Center" also at gate K6/H6. The lounges are suited to both business and pleasure travellers with complimentary snacks, beverages, and free access to Wi-Fi. You can also make sure your electronic devices don't die during longer trips by making use of the lounges' power outlets to keep everything charged.

American Flagship Lounge

American Airlines also has their American Flagship Lounge in O'Hare's Terminal 3. This lounge can be found at gate K18 and features similar standards to the club lounges and all the amenities that you would expect for both leisure and productivity.

Terminal 5 (Concourse M)

Terminal 5 serves as O’Hare’s international terminal and deals with most international flights except for a small number of flights and those with preclearance. If you’re wondering why O’Hare has no “Terminal 4”, it’s because it was converted into the ground transport hub for the airport in the early 1990s.

International Lounges

A number of the international carriers have lounges for their privileged travellers at O'Hare's Terminal 5. If you belong to one of a number of airline's VIP or lounge membership schemes, you will be able to make use of premium lounge facilities in the airport's international terminal.

Lounges are available for VIP travellers flying with Air France/KLM (and associated partners) network, Korean Air, British Airways, Asiana Airlines, Swiss, and Swissport. All the lounges feature the amenities that you would expect from any premium airport lounge.

Getting Around the Airport

Chicago O’Hare International Airport makes use of the Airport Transport System (ATS) to get passengers between terminals. The ATS is an automated people mover that can take over 2,000 people between O’Hare’s terminal every hour. Since 1993 it has taken passengers and visitors between the terminals and the airport’s parking facilities and is the easiest way to get around the airport.

Getting To and From Chicago O’Hare International Airport

By Public Transport


O’Hare is located just under 32 kilometers to the northwest of downtown Chicago’s “The Loop” area. The airport is connected to Chicago’s “L” trains’ blue line which runs from O’Hare to Forest Park via downtown Chicago.


Chicago’s Metra commuter trains also service O’Hare. Passengers should board or alight the train at the O’Hare Transfer Station which connects to the airport via the Airport Transport System.


As one of the world’s busiest airports, O’Hare is often the choice of visitors from neighboring states and the bus services to and from the airport reflect this. Buses can be taken from O’Hare to Illinois’ neighboring states Iowa (Wikipedia
	Article), Wisconsin, and Indiana.


Chicago O’Hare International Airport can be accessed by taking the I-90 (Kennedy Expressway) and heading onto the I-190 before taking the exit for the airport. Like most airports, O’Hare also offers taxi services to the center of the city. Getting from O’Hare to Chicago can take around 20 minutes if you manage to avoid the traffic.

Midway Airport

Midway Airport is Chicago’s “other” airport and is actually nearer to the city than O’Hare. However, this airport offers much less choice in terms of destinations and facilities than the world’s busiest airport. When O’Hare was constructed in the 1950s, it was because Midway Airport, which had been the city’s major airport since the 1930s, was struggling to cope with the growing number of passengers travelling to and from Chicago.

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Author: JP_Translation. Last updated: Apr 02, 2015

Pictures of O'Hare International Airport

O'hare Airport decorated for the holidays (Terminal 1) - O'Hare International Airport
O'hare Airport decorated for the holidays (Terminal 1) - O'Hare International Airport. Photo by Nathan Rupert

Underground Travellators - O'Hare International Airport
Underground Travellators - O'Hare International Airport. Photo by N i c o l a


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